Fresno Shooting: 4 killed, 6 injured after gunmen open fire on family watching football, suspects still at large

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Authorities say ten people were shot, and four are dead after a suspect opened fire as a family gathered at an east central Fresno home Sunday night.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office has identified the victims as 23-year-old Xy Lee, 31-year-old Phia Vang, 38-year-old Kou Xiong, and 40-year-old Kalaxang Thao, all lived in Fresno.

As family members gather to mourn and work out how to pay for the unexpected funerals, Fresno Police homicide detectives are looking for answers.

"We are open to where the leads will take us, but I will say that there are leads that have been developed, and they are taking us to different places," said Fresno Police Capt. Dennis Bridges.

Sunday night, officers were called to a home on Lamona Avenue near Ceasar Avenue, located about three blocks south of the Fresno Yosemite International Airport at 7:48 p.m.

Fresno Police say around 30 people were at the house having a party to watch a football game on television. The gathering was described as peaceful and quiet before the shots rang out.

Investigators say that at least two suspects entered the backyard from the side of the house and opened fire, using semi-automatic pistols, on the 16 men that were in the yard. The people in the yard say they did not see the suspects, only flashes of light from the guns. Because of that, Fresno Police have not been able to provide a description of the suspects.

Family showed Action News the side of the house where at least two suspects came through an unlocked gate and immediately began firing into a crowd of about 16 men.

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Family showed Action News the side of the house where at least two suspects came through an unlocked gate and immediately began firing into a crowd of about 16 men.

The other people inside the home, which included women and children, were not injured.

The FBI is working behind the scenes to collect information about who may have targeted the group-mostly made up of soccer players and singers. They are also looking into the background of every person who was at the gathering.

At police headquarters, forensic evidence is being analyzed, and officers are closer to a motive as details become clear.

"There's a lot of things going on right now, and there have been advancements in this case, and we're confident that this will be solved," Bridges said.

Vigils have been held in Fresno every night since the night after the shooting. Families, friends, and community members gathered to grieve and start to heal, as candles shone a light on those lost.

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Families, friends, and community members gathered to grieve and start to heal, as candles shone a light on those lost.

Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall said the shooters targeted the house but didn't seem to pick out specific victims. He noted some of the members attending the party were linked to a "disturbance" last week, also described as a fight, but was vague on the details of the incident.

Hall was not aware of any connection between the victims and gangs, but he announced a new Asian gang task force, in part, because of the upcoming Hmong holiday that draws thousands to Fresno every year.

"We haven't seen a spike in Asian gang violence in awhile. And we're starting to see it now as we're heading into the Hmong new year celebration. We just want to get ahead of it," Hall said.

RELATED: Security to be increased for Fresno's Hmong New Year celebration after deadly mass shooting

Hall cited three Asian gang incidents this month and 11 this year, although he wouldn't say there's a direct connection between any of them and the mass shooting Sunday night.

One of the incidents was a homicide Sunday morning, about 14 hours before gunmen targeted the party. Investigators say it also involved two shooters who had a specific target in mind.

"When they opened the door, they entered the residence and held the occupants at gunpoint," Hall said. "It appears they were looking for an individual inside the apartment."

Hall added that the people who lived at the house have been very cooperative, and no weapons were found at the home after the shooting.

On Sunday night, five of the victims were taken to be treated at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno, and one victim was taken to Saint Agnes Medical Center in northeast Fresno for treatment. CRMC officials say of the shooting victims it received, three are in critical condition and two have been treated and released. The victim taken to St. Agnes was grazed by a bullet.

"On behalf of the entire team, our thoughts and deepest sympathies with the patients and their families impacted by the tragic incident that occurred on Sunday evening," said UCSF trauma surgeon Dr. Amy Kwok. "It's difficult. We see this on a daily basis. And It's not getting better, but this is what we are trained to do, and so mentally and skillfully this is what we are trained to do."

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Trauma surgeon Dr. Amy Kwok discusses medical professionals' response taking in Fresno shooting vicitms at Community Regional Medical Center

When officers arrived, they found three people who had already died from their injuries. The fourth victim died at a hospital.

Pao Yang, a Hmong community representative and CEO of The Fresno Center, said that two of the victims are well-known singers in the Hmong community.

RELATED: 'It should have been me, not you': Grieving families, community hold vigil for mass shooting victims

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand released a statement in response to the mass shooting:
"My prayers go out to the victims and their families, along with the promise that those responsible for this horrific crime will face the full force of justice. The City of Fresno will not tolerate this type of violence in any of our neighborhoods. We will add whatever resources that are necessary to find those responsible. This senseless tragedy does not define us - rather, our response and unity as a community will and I have complete confidence in our collective resolve."

California State Senator Andreas Borgeas responded to the shooting on Twitter:

Fresno prosecutor and mayoral candidate Andrew Janz also tweeted:

The Central California Blood Center is asking all eligible donors in the Central Valley to donate blood at their local donation center. It says Sunday night's mass shooting "gravely" impacted blood inventory.

To find a donation center near you click here.

California Assemblyman Jim Patterson released this statement after donating $5,000 to Valley Crime Stoppers:

"Our community is coming together to solve this horrific case and my hope is that the Crime Stoppers reward will help lead to the arrest and conviction of these thoughtless murderers. Until then, we will continue to lift the victims and their families up in prayer with the hope that justice is served quickly."

Fresno City Councilmember Esmeralda Soria also donated $5,000 to Valley Crime Stoppers.

Crime Stoppers is now offering up to $15,000 for information leading to an arrest of the suspects.

This is a developing story. Stay with Action News for updates.

If you have information about this case, you are urged to contact Valley Crime Stoppers. You could be eligible to receive a cash reward if you provide information anonymously that leads to an arrest. To leave a tip, call 559-498-7867, or fill out the form below.
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